Regardless, I’m willing to take a chance on this perspective. As a longtime Apple watcher I’ve also had the pleasure to watch those companies which compete with Apple in multiple industries. Windows vs. Mac on PCs. Android vs. iPhone in smartphones and tablets. Overall, Apple has done itself proud and managed to captured both industry mind share and profits.
One of Apple’s major competitors is Google, the search engine giant, which made and makes billions of dollars in profit each year by helping to direct you to specific search results and advertisers.
Google is a carefully constructed technology brand, even though the vast majority of the company’s revenue and profits come the old fashioned way. Search engine advertising. Google seems to have contracted the same disease that afflicted Microsoft for the past 20 years. Cultural adventurism. It’s the culture of the company to venture into business segments for which it is ill prepared. That explains why Microsoft’s cash cows today, Windows and Office, are the same cows from 20 years ago, and nearly every attempt to diversify has failed, while the Microsoft and Windows brand became tarnished.
Google is heading down the same road, but at least the company’s founders know it. That explains Alphabet, soon to be Google’s new corporate, the holding company for a conglomerate of business ventures as the company tries, mostly in vain to date, to diversify itself from the core business; the profitable search engine advertising business.
What is happening to Google happened to Microsoft. Google is now associated with privacy and security problems, and the company’s flagship operating system, Android, even more so. Every week we read of more Android problems; vulnerabilities and exploits, critical flaws which affect nearly a billion users, but flaws which cannot be fixed by Google. Instead of shoring up the Android platform, Google claims its open system is good. But for whom? Android device makers don’t make much money. Google itself makes little from mobile search and advertising, and a big chunk of that from Apple’s iOS devices.
Fortunately for Microsoft, Windows and Office had only Apple and the Mac as competition, though the latter walked away with most of the manufacturing profits. Fortunately for Google, Android has only Apple’s iPhone and iPad as competition, though, again, the latter walks away with most of the industry’s profits.
What we’re seeing in Android is what we saw in Windows. Decay, tarnish, a slow walk toward mediocrity and a platform where anything goes, but nothing goes well for the customer.